Last week, the ex-gay umbrella organization Exodus International announced it would be shutting down and ending its futile and dangerous mission to pray the gay away. This historic change prompted other purveyors of ex-gay propaganda were quick to defend the therapy, with Focus on the Family leading the way.
DALY: We believe there is hope for those who struggle sexually. Be it a struggle with lust, adultery, pornography addiction, pre-marital sex, same-sex attractions or issues related to identity — there is hope. The hope of a Christian is that our behavior becomes more in line with God and God’s will. He wants us to drink from His full cup of grace and truth — because it’s through Him we can overcome lifelong struggles with sin.
God’s help usually doesn’t come as a ‘fast fix.’ It’s often a long process. Many times it takes counseling, Bible study, prayer and community support — but it can be done. Here at Focus we’ve seen marriages reconciled. We’ve seen people who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction change. We’ve seen people experience real transformation in their thoughts, behaviors, attractions and identity. We’ve seen people find true happiness in stewarding their sexuality according to God’s plan, even when that means sacrifice.
This unflinching endorsement of ex-gay therapy is a far cry from Daly’s recent statements attempting to tone down FOTF’s anti-gay messaging — despite plenty of others at the organization keeping it rather consistent. Two years ago, Daly conceded defeat on the issue of same-sex marriage, adding that he was unsure of the organization’s future. In January, Daly suggested that homosexuality is “not a super sin,” suggesting that it was given too much emphasis by conservatives. Nevertheless, he seems as committed as ever to forcing people to pay large sums of money to shame themselves into denying their own orientations.
NARTH, the professional network for those who claim to offer reparative therapy, also chimed in last week to say that it “continues to affirm that the experience of thousands of clients with unwanted homosexual attraction and the licensed therapists who serve them demonstrates that trained, experienced, and ethical professional clinicians play a vital role in successful treatment processes.” This supposedly huge population of ex-gays may soon be made visible if the group PFOX has its way. They are going to celebrate “Ex-Gay Pride” in July, including at least one public event in Washington, DC.
The easiest way to change “unwanted same-sex attractions” is to change the “unwanted.” Mainstream psychology calls for affirmation therapy to reconcile that conflict and has found that any attempt to change orientation is both ineffective and harmful. Even researchers committed to defending the merits of ex-gay therapy have found that it doesn’t actually change people’s orientation.